Salsa’s Deadwood (formerly the Deadwood Sus) was certainly an interesting bike. A proper 29+ full suspension bike, the ride could be a bit polarizing depending on your geographic location and riding style. The massive 29 x 3.0″ tires offer insane amounts of grip and the traction and float to ride almost anything. Yet, their added weight and size meant that the bike was not as agile as a standard 29″ full suspension rig.
During our review of the original, I found that the original tires and wheels were perfect for trail systems like Santos down in Florida where sandy sections and fields of baby head rocks made you appreciate the extra float and cush. However, back home I ended up installing 29 x 2.6″ tires which offered a better overall ride for firmer, faster trails. The beauty of the bike is that it could run both depending on the situation and almost act as two completely different platforms.
2018 Salsa Deadwood
For 2018, it seems that Salsa agrees and has decided to sell the Deadwood as a stock “29+” build with Maxxis 29 x 2.6″ tires. The frame and fork are still 29 x 2.2 – 3.0″ compatible, but if you want to truly go plus, you’ll have to provide your own tires (rims are still decently wide Sun Ringle Duroc 40s).
The other big change is up front at the fork. Like the original, the top end bike still has a RockShox Pike, but this time all of the forks squeeze out 120mm of travel instead of 100. However, it’s important to note that the forks have the same axle to crown length as the previous 100mm fork which means the geometry stays the exact same in spite of the extra travel. The rear stays at 91mm, though it’s fair to say that the Split Pivot suspension design makes that 91mm feel quite a bit longer than it really is.
Salsa will be offering two Deadwood builds in carbon with the $5,099 GX Eagle (yellow), and the $4,099 SLX 1×11 (black), but most interesting might be the new Deadwood NX. Built with an aluminum frame, the bike has all the same specs as the carbon models, but thanks to a SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain, RockShox Recon RL fork, and other affordable components, the price is just $2,799. Salsa pointed out that this was their first full suspension build that has come in under $3k, which is a pretty big deal. They also pointed out that all three builds have the same rear shock – a RockShox Monarch RT3 Debonair, so you’ll end up with the same rear suspension performance regardless of model.
Expect the new Deadwood series to show up this March.
2018 Salsa Pony Rustler
Moving on to the Pony Rustler, the bike is still the same beloved 27+ singletrack monster, just with a few new parts. Running 120mm/130mm rear/front travel, the bike comes stock with 27.5 x 3.0″ tires, though it is still compatible with 29 x 2.2-2.4″. In 2018, the top end comes with a SRAM GX Eagle kit on a carbon frame for $5,099.
Next is the Pony Rustler Carbon SLX 1×11, which you guessed it, includes a carbon frame and Shimano SLX 1×11 drivetrain for $4,099. Suspension also drops from the RockShox Pike RC to a Revelation RC, though like the Deadwood all Pony Rustlers use the same Monarch RT3 rear shock.
Like the Deadwood, an aluminum version of the Pony Rustler drops in at $2,799 with a SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain and RockShox Recon RL fork.
2018 Salsa Redpoint
Finally, the again keeps the same 150mm travel frame and moves to a 160mm travel fork (carbon models), but sees the tires grow – a bit. Still not really a plus bike, the new Redpoints will ship with 27.5 x 2.5″ Wide Trail Maxxis tires on 35mm inner width rims.
The top end is the Carbon GX Eagle model with a 160mm RockShox Pike RC fork, Monarch RT3 shock, and Guide R brakes for $5,099.
You’ll notice a trend here, the second tier Redpoint Carbon is an SLX 1×11 build with a RockShox Revelation 160mm travel fork, Monarch RT3 shock, and Shimano Deore brakes for $4,099.
Bringing up the rear is the RedPoint NX, with a 150mm RockShox Recon RL fork, Monarch RT3 rear shock, NX 1×11 drivetrain and SRAM Level brakes for $2,899.
Check out Salsacycles.com for more info on all of the models above.